When I was a kid, my mother used to drive me to school in the morning--like other kids, I'm sure--but I was positive they didn't have to go through the torture I did on the way. She used to listen to classical radio. I remember when I heard that music for the first time I made a funny face and begged my mom to turn it off. She had this cassette tape she bought in some frilly lingerie store that blasts that kind of stuff over your head, and she listened to it regularly. But whether it was those brainwashes in the mornings or eventually being able to put a name to the compositions that I learned about after taking first-period music in school, I finally waved the white flag gladly. That's when I found my moment. Find yours when the Dallas Symphony Orchestra debuts the 2003-2004 Texas Instruments Classical Series on September 11 with internationally known violist Gil Shaham, who recorded concertos by greats such as Tchaikovsky (my personal favorite). Conducted by Andrew Litton, the event runs through September 14 and features Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto in E minor." Tickets range from $15 to $100 with a discount for seniors. Call 214-692-0203 or visit www.DallasSymphony.com. --Jenice Johnson
Up in Smoke
Whether they're driving at 5 mph protecting the border from Jesus or looking for Dave, oldschool comedians Cheech and Chong totally rule, man. Those wacky stoners were icons of the '70s drug counterculture and still command the loyalties of many Volkswagen-driving compatriots. Sadly, the duo broke up in 1985, and Cheech Marin has since turned to the more cinematic side of life while Tommy Chong has flown a little more under the radar. Now Chong--who recently had a four-year recurring role on That '70's Show---is getting back to the comedic basics and touring with his drug-reference-laden live comedy show. So if you're one for a strong dose of nostalgia, or you're just one of the poor fools who's never experienced Chong's blazin' humor, make sure to rev up the bong-mobile and tap into this mad vibe, performed live with his wife Shelby. Performances are September 12 and September 13 at Hyena's Comedy Club in Arlington, 2525 E. Arkansas Lane. Friday shows are at 8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and Saturday shows at 7 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 11 p.m. General admission tickets are $18.50, and only mature tokers allowed. That means 18 years and up, folks; can't allow the kiddies to be exposed to this comedic debauchery. Call 817-226-5233 or visit www.hyenascomedynightclub.com. --Mary Monigold
Admittedly, I'm a fan and this is biased. But trust me on this if you appreciate rockin' country and amazing musicianship. I've danced to this band's version of "Roses in the Snow." I bought a CD for my dad, and I even took my mother to see them. You just don't miss The Lucky Pierres. So be at Pegasus Plaza at noon Friday for the free Out to Lunch show and you'll hear a set of pipes that would make Wanda Jackson weep and bewildering fretwork. But don't just sit there, find a partner and dance. Call 214-744-4819. --Merritt Martin
A half-century ago, playwright Samuel Beckett translated his Waiting for Godot from French to English and assured himself immortality in the Theater of the Absurd. Acknowledging the anniversary of the two-act classic, the Risk Theater Initiative will stage the play at Flower Mound's Barn Door Theater. A preview presentation is scheduled for September 11 at 7 p.m., then Godot runs through September 21 with performances Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Call 972-724-2147. --Carlton Stowers
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Falla Da Leader
UTD salutes dead Spanish guy
We really wish that the University of Texas at Dallas had taken it to the edge and called this multi-media concert something like Holla for Falla. You know, to attract "the kids" by using their slang. That always works. But instead we've got Playing for Falla, a concert honoring Manuel de Falla, a 20th century Spanish composer whose personal motto must have been "quality not quantity." He didn't leave much behind numbers-wise, but what he did produce secured his place as one of Spain's national treasures and classic music's too. So it's not hard to do a greatest hits, and that's where UTD comes in. Composer-in-residence Robert Xavier Rodriguez conducts Fred Curchack, Jeff Lankov, Enric Madriguera and several other guest artists in performing the puppet opera El Retablo de Maese Pedro (based on a scene from Don Quixote), "The Ritual Fire Dance" from El Amor Brujo, the "Harpsichord Concerto," plus more. Afterward you can holla for Falla. You know you wanna. Playing for Falla is 8 p.m. Friday at the University Theatre, Campbell Road and University Parkway, Richardson. It's free for UTD students, $5 for UTD faculty and staff and kids under 18, $10 for other students and UTD alumni and $15 for general admission. Call 972-883-2982. --Shannon Sutlief